Renfroe’s “beacon of light” teacher starts youth organization

Renfroe’s “beacon of light” teacher starts youth organization

Last school year, Teresa Davis created Youth Platform (YP), a leadership and mentoring group composed of middle and high school students. 

Her inspiration for the group stemmed from her work in City Schools of Decatur as Renfroe Middle School’s ISS teacher. 

Davis had a “passion to find someone within this generation who [dared] to be different from their peers.” Through YP, she has found those students who dare to be different. 

The group itself focuses on allowing students to find and use their voices to speak out and create change, as well as topics like peer pressure, self-esteem and anger management. 

Davis has seen an increase in self-esteem, confidence and communication skills from the students involved in YP. 

“This group has affected me in so many positive ways,” freshman Amaya Bennett said. “I learned how to find my voice which helped me speak up and do things I thought I would never do.”

Bennett regularly attends meetings and heard about YP through her mother and peers.

Youth Platform meets every Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 7p.m. at Ebster Recreation Center.
Youth Platform meets every Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 7p.m. at Ebster Recreation Center.

Freshman Janis Douglas joined after Davis recommended that she and her brother should get more involved in the community. 

Douglas had positive experiences like Bennett. She believes YP has affected her “emotionally.”

“The group keeps me out of trouble,” Douglas said. “It gives me a chance to actually do something positive with my time.”

YP meets every Wednesday evening at Ebster Recreation Center to receive leadership and public speaking training, in addition to discussing any areas of concern in the community. 

So far, YP has participated in an MLK Day community service project. The group also campaigns for road safety and focuses on the danger of railroad crossing. 

Davis appreciates the respect YP has earned at Ebster Recreation Center, at school and in the community. She attributes some of the group’s success to Valencia Breedlove, 2015 Decatur City Commission candidate. 

Breedlove “has been committed and diligent since I started the group.”

Davis is “most excited” that each member will continue to grow in their leadership abilities.

“My role is to be that beacon of light, so [the students] can become a light that will shine and cause positive change within our world,” Davis said.